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The Orbit

Uche Okeke (1933-2016)

okeke

Christopher Uche Okeke, Painter and Professor of the Fine Arts died on January 5, following a long struggle with a devastating stroke, at his home in Nimo, in the Njikoka area of Anambra state, where he had established the Asele institute on his retirement from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Uche Okeke’s death marks a powerful closure of the life of a powerful imagination; a great artistic and cultural presence on the African firmament in the last half century.

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Buhari is not fighting corruption

The minister for justice just announced that judges found to be corrupt will be tried by this administration. This is problematic. Though this sentiment is much shared, it should not be left to the president and his administration to define “corruption,” or determine which judge is corrupt. For the avoidance of doubt the writ of this republic does not make the president the supreme authority of the land.

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corruption

Nigeria’s “free market” of corruption

There is a link to the introduction and application of the IMF and World Bank’s concepts of “liberalization,” “privatization,” and the “free market” to the exponential rise of corruption in Nigeria. There was always corruption in government, but before the advent of the IMF conditions, corruption in the public system was at its very minimal; what was known then as corruption would today pale in the face of the systemic subversion that has since buckled public governance in Nigeria.

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Igbo Chiefs

What do the Igbo want?

So, at best, the Foreign Minister is a prestige position, full of glitter, and nothing else. Yet, President Buhari might also argue that it is Nigeria’s voice, its eyes and its ears in the outside world, for whatever it is worth. That by itself is significant – Nigeria speaks to the world through the voice of an Igbo, whose own illustrious father was no less the World Court judge, Charles Daddy Onyeama of Eke. The Ministry of Labour could equally be powerful, and might be in the hands of a visionary minister, the arrowhead for the reform of the Civil Service and the public sector.

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Media Chat 4: L-R SA Media to President Buhari Mr Femi Adesina, Premium Times Editor Mr. Ibanga Isine, Anchor/Media Practitioner Mr Kayode Akintemi, President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr Ngozi Ayaegbunam, Daily Trust Editor Mannir Dan-Ali and SSAP Mallam Garba Shehu shortly after the Presidential media chat at the State House in Abuja on 30th Dec 2015

Buhari: President, judge and jury

Nigerians have been riveted by the scandal allegedly involving former National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki, under whose charge, the former President Goodluck Jonathan prosecuted the war against the Boko Haram Insurgency. The current Buhari administration and his All Progressives Congress party, have so far painted the alleged misuse and misappropriation of a $2.1 billion vote for the procurement of Arms by Colonel Dasuki and his cronies as a scandal beyond all historical proportion. But we know that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. Nigeria has seen worse.

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Nwafor Orizu

Nwafor Orizu was President of Nigeria

The mish-mash of Nigeria’s post-war history has permitted many sad revisions which in turn has made Nigerian historical studies and its statements therefrom to be lopsided, ethnic, and gnarled. We have tended in Nigeria to celebrate the worst of us, and have confined Nigeria’s true national heroes to the dustbin. Today, only in a place like Nigeria, with its twisted ethos, can a man like Ahmadu Bello for instance, have greater pride of place in the National rolls than Akweke Abyssinia Nwafor Orizu, one of the great spirits of the anti-colonial Nationalist movement.

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Biafra protesters

The Road to Philipi

Ali Okechukwu, Deputy Superintendent of Police, and Public Relations Officer of the Anambra State Command of the Nigerian Police Force, Awka, denied it all. The Joint Task Force had not shot at protesters, and has not killed anyone among the peaceful demonstrators in Onitsha calling for the release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, and a referendum for the secession of Biafra from the federation of Nigeria.

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Biafra

Buhari and the Biafrans

Dr. Chu S. P. Okongwu in his 2004 tributes to Ukpabi Asika, took an aside in his eulogies to emphasize the following: “The generation born after the civil war will not know that the former Eastern region, comprising East-Central State, South-Eastern state, and Rivers state, enjoyed a highly developed road network, with probably the highest quality road density in sub-Saharan Africa. These had been damaged or neglected during the war. Ukpabi Asika planned to reconstruct and modernize these.

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biafra

Again,Biafra

The new Minister of Defence, Mr. Muhammed Dan Ali, has made what might be the first official statement by this administration on the new agitation by Biafrans for a separate country. Nigeria, he noted on his initial statement on assuming office as Defence Minister, is buffeted by “many indices of destabilisation.”

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Nigeria  President  Muhammadu Buhari arrives at Indira Gandhi International Airport for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi on October 27, 2015. India is hosting an unprecedented gathering of Africa's leaders as it ramps up the race for resources on the continent, where its rival China already has a major head start. AFP PHOTO

Buhari’s summary sacking of the Perm Secs was a mistake

President Muhammadu Buhari’s sacking of sixteen Permanent Secretaries, and appointment of seventeen new ones to replace them seems to me a mistake. The office of the president from which the announcement of this mass removal of the Permanent Secretaries was made, did not give any real details regarding the whys and the wherefores of this presidential action. But that is only part of the problem. Two questions ought to worry Nigerians about this move.

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ORCH TAIRE (1933-2015)

Torch Oritsewenyimi Taire – his friends called him, TOT – was among many things, a man of great sensitivity: an aesthete – not in the mushy, pretentious way of the noveaux riche. A friend of poets and artists; a great lover of beautiful things. He had an eclectic mind. He was a truly renaissance man. I learnt from Torch Taire, more than a university could teach. He was a great repository of the lore of nation. He was friend to powerful men, and he was himself, without doubt, a powerful man. But you would never know it.

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Igbo Chiefs

Time to abolish the monarchies

At its inauguration as a free nation, Nigeria established itself as a federal democratic republic. The founding fathers of this nation thought hard, and long about the options open to a multi-ethnic society such as Nigeria, and knew that it could not, like the Kingdom of Swaziland, be a constitutional monarchy, run on a unitarist model. In 1960, the federation of Nigeria secured political independence as a free nation under the British Commonwealth.

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The Indigenous People of Biafra on a Peaceful Protest over the Arrest of the Director of Radio Biafra yesterday along Ikwerre road in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. Photo: Nwankpa Chijioke

Biafra is always an alternative

Last week, the Department of State Security arrested the Director of the pirate Radio called, “Radio Biafra,” Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, and sparked off a wave of street protests in the cities of the Niger, from Calabar to Port-Harcourt, to Asaba by pro-Biafran protesters and women who rallied in support of Mr. Kanu, calling for his release.

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*UNIJOS student on campus

Jos, thirty years later

My class at the University of Jos was admitted to the university in the fall of 1985 as the University of Jos class of ‘85. It is thirty years from thence – and time seems to have galloped too quickly. WE arrived on campus in late September 1985, to the clamorous strains of the wind in the leaves, and to bracing mornings, in what would prove to be one of the coldest harmattans ever in Jos. I was eighteen, going to turn nineteen that December, and I had decided to come to Jos to study English, and not to follow in any of the steps towards which my father was nudging me.

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